We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Chemical Cautery?

By J. Beam
Updated Feb 27, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Chemical cautery is one of two forms of cauterization, the medical term applied to destroying tissue or clotting blood by closing off a part of the body with heat, cold, or caustic substance. This form is cauterization with a chemical agent, while the other main type, electrocautery, is cauterization by electricity. Electrocautery should not be confused with electrosurgery, which is a different procedure altogether.

Developed in the early 20th century as a sinus treatment, chemical cautery is commonly used to perform simple medical procedures that relieve common ailments. Examples include wart removal, treatment of ingrown nails, as well as treatment for sinus problems. It is an in-office procedure, and in the case of relief for sinus pain sufferers, is typically quite simple and painless.

To relieve sinus pain, a medical professional uses chemicals to destroy the mast cells in the sinus cavities that release histamine and other sources of inflammation that leads to sinus pain. Not all patients suffering from sinus pain are eligible for this type of cautery, but those with recurring symptoms that persist in spite of anti-histamine and other drugs are typical candidates. The procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes and often has to be repeated a few times each year; however, most insurance plans cover the procedure.

Chemical cautery is also used in dermatology to destroy unhealthy skin tissue. Though cryotherapy is sometimes used as a treatment for warts, other forms of cautery can also be effective. Dermatologists, ear nose and throat specialists, dentists, and some family doctors and internists often offer these treatments in their office.

Agents that act as a chemical cautery include phenol, silver nitrate, and liquid nitrogen. Some of these are readily available and can be handy for pet owners as well as people. It is the same principal applied when using styptic powder on pet nails that bleed if trimmed to short. Silver nitrate is also an effective treatment for canker sores or mouth ulcers.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By mcanbeyli — On Dec 19, 2008

As I remember from my circumcision, the circumciser used a liquid substance, looking like water. He sprayed it to my penis and caused severe pain. I think, the liquid was a chemical cautery agent. Do you have an idea about circumcisions, which are performed with chemical cautery?

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.